Ilchester Relief in Need and Educational Charity

Mrs Kaye Elston
15 Chilton Grove, Yeovil, Somerset, BA21 4AN
Tel: 07782251464

Do you live in Ilchester?

And if you have a Financial Need IRINEC may be able to help you. Phone the clerk to talk through your needs to find out if you qualify to be considered for help by the Trustees. Contact details are above.

If you plan to go to University in future then the Ilchester Relief in Need and Educational Charity (IRINEC) may be able to help you with expenses. Students attending University may get help with their fees or living costs. To be considered you will need to contact the clerk for an Application Form.

College students are also considered for help with transport costs. The student themselves (not the parent) will need to write to the clerk giving details of the College you will be attending and the course you will be following. Some colleges are offering grants towards transport costs. Please tell the clerk if you qualify for any grant. This could affect the help you are given.


Ilchester Relief in Need and Education Charity is for the benefit of residents of Ilchester only. Applications by Ilchester residents may be made to the Clerk, for consideration by the Trustees at their monthly meeting. Phone the clerk for an application form.


The Almshouse Charity and the Almshouse Educational Foundation now the Ilchester Relief in Need and Educational Charity

A History

IRINEC is the Ilchester Relief in Need and Education Charity, and it’s roots date back to the 14th Century. Robert Veel began to acquire land at this time, and the earliest mention of his name is on a Deed in 1386. His wife, Alice, is also mentioned when he bought some of the land at Ilchester and Sock Dennis.

In early March 1426 he bought the Manor at Stocklinch. Later in the month was the Deed of Foundation of the Almshouse. It was built on land probably bought by Robert and Alice Veel in 1396. Their aim was to maintain ‘five at least, six or seven poor men, infirm, broken down with old age and unable to work’.

For the next 50 years the Almshouse was supported by the income from the lands. At the end of this time the Trusteeship was transferred to Ilchester for ever. We have no detail of the following 200 years until a mention in 1735 when the minutes of the Almshouse records that the ‘Almshouse book have binn gon’. This probably accounts for the lack of detail. The earliest book of accounts and memoranda in existence is dated 1744. The Almshouse was set up for men only, but there is mention in the 17th, 18thand 19th centuries that women were allowed to benefit from the charity. During the year 1796, 12 men and 4 women were inmates of the house. In 1802, 6 men and 4 women and in 1812 there were 13 men and 2 women living in.

Women were not allowed entrance to the Almshouse under Robert Veels’ original foundation deed but there were few years when women were unrepresented, either as matron, nurse, almswoman or living in the Almshouse with her husband.

At a meeting held in November 1786 it was agreed that no person be admitted into the almshouse in future---------------‘ unless it was agreed by all the bailiffs (Trustees). There must have been some irregularity in the acceptance of an almsperson which had not been approved by all concerned.

In 1792 a George Tuson was appointed Town Clerk of Ilchester. He was asked to catalogue all the Title Deeds, leases and manuscripts which he found in the Almshouse chest in a very confused state! He found that the land at Stocklinch was unchanged. Other lands were at Yeovilton, Charlton Mackrell, Northover, Limington, Ilchester Mead and properties in Ilchester.

The properties and lands at Ilchester were exchanged with a Richard Troward for land at Odcombe. This was considered an advantage by the bailiffs because the buildings needed a lot of money to be spent on them - money the Almshouse could not afford.

In 1798 the Almshouse accounts state the weekly payments to the almsmen and almswomen was to be reduced by 6d (2.5p) to 2/6 (12.5p) and 2/- (10p) respectively as it was felt that this was sufficient for their needs.

In 1809 the Almshouse was in need of repair and the accommodation was not good enough for the almspeople, as for many years it could house only 7 inmates. At one time the upper story of the Almshouse was used as a school and before that it had been used as a chapel for the almspeople.

In 1810 the old building was demolished and rebuilt. (The date of 1810 is clearly visible on a Hamstone tablet above the door of NO. 24 High Street.) While the rebuilding was happening the almspeople were housed in rented property which was owned by Sir John Manners. The new building had 15 bedrooms - a separate room for each person. There was a common kitchen and the ¼ acre garden provided the almspeople with a small plot each. The Trustees furnished the kitchen, provided bedlinen and clothing for the almspeople.

The inmates purchased their own food from their weekly allowance. Coal was provided in the kitchen and two rooms were heated in the winter and used as an infirmary. Medical aid was provided and funeral expenses were met by the charity.

In 1810 the weekly allowances were increased to 4/- for men and 3/6 for women.

Parishioners qualified for help if they were old and infirm and who received no other help. It did not matter what their religion was, but if they misbehaved they faced expulsion - this rarely happened.

In the 18th Century the Corporation of Ilchester ‘borrowed’ from the Charity when their accounts were low.

In 1823 there were 13 men and only 1 woman in the Almshouse. The woman was regarded as the nurse and was expected to keep the Almshouse clean.

During 1823 the Charity was investigated by HM Commissioners for Charities and they were not happy with everything they found (The ‘borrowing’ of money by the Corporation of Ilchester must have been one concern). An order was made by the High Court to establish a scheme for the regulation and management of the Charity. (This is as we are regulated today in IRINEC by the Charity Commission)

In 1858 the Charity was placed under the control of a Board of Trustees consisting of the Bailiff and Burgesses of the Borough of Ilchester and 9 other persons residing in or living within 6 miles of the parish. A Clerk was to be appointed. There were to be not less than 2 meetings a year. Five members formed a quorum. A minute book and account books were to be kept. ( This compares quite closely with the running of IRINEC to the present day.) The Boards’ duty was to let the Charity property - except the Almshouse, at thebest rents they could obtain. At least once a year the Almshouse and other buildings were to be visited and inspected.( It is similar today for the Trustees embark on an annual walk where they walk the farm land owned by the charity to check that is being well farmed.)

The final number of Almshouse people was 18. Rooms in the Almshouse not required by the almspeople could be allotted rent free to single men or women or childless married couples residing in Ilchester. It was stated that for admission to the Almshouse the qualifications were:

To be male
Over 50 years of age
Of good character and having lived in Ilchester for at least 3 years.

The Charity paid £50 per annum towards the support of the National School for the boys and girls of Ilchester.

In 1880 the Trustees decided to ask the Charity Commissioners to amend the 1852 scheme. Under the new scheme the number of almspeople were to be reduced from 18 to 14 and to refrain from filling vacancies until there were only 10 almspeople. The weekly allowance could be raised to 6/-.

In March 1860 the Trustees resolved that the uniform worn by the almsmen be dark grey with brass buttons.(There is no mention of special clothing for the women.) This continued to be used until the closing of the Almshouse in 1916.

In 1915 the Charity Commissioners approved the establishment of a scheme to regulate the Charity. A supplementary scheme was established in 1922. In 1949 it was still these schemes governing the Charity. On 30th December 1915 the Trustees resolved that the inmates vacate the Almshouse on 1st January 1916. The weekly pensions were then 6/- to existing inmates over 70 years of age and 8/- for those under that age. The Almshouse Charity had become solely a pension scheme without an almshouse.

There were no meetings of the Trustees between December 1915 and March 1920. During the 1914-18 war, German prisoners engaged in agriculture were housed in the Almshouse building.

In May 1922 the Almshouse building was sold to W H Hunt of Bristol and converted into a private dwelling house. This building is now known as 23 and 24 High Street but it fronts onto Almshouse Lane.

The Charity continued to award pensions to men in Ilchester until eventually it was necessary to change the scheme as there were so few Ilchester men in need of these pensions. In 1984 the Charity Commission agreed a new scheme - the one we are regulated by today. So the Almshouse Charity and the Almshouse Educational Foundation became the Ilchester Relief in Need and Educational Charity (IRINEC).

The Trustees were to consist of seven people. Three were to be nominated by Ilchester Parish Council and serve for four years. The remaining four were to be co-opted and have special knowledge of the Parish of Ilchester and serve for five years. The Trustees were to elect one of their members to chair their meetings. There were to be at least three Trustees present for a decision to be made. A Clerk was to be appointed and a minute book and accounts were to be kept.

IRINEC manages the land and the letting of that land for the best rent available as the former Charity had done back in 1858. The property and buildings on that property are repaired and insured. The income from these properties is used for relief in need and for the promotion of education. The Trustees can award grants to give general help to groups of people or to individuals. These grants may be sums of money or services paid for. They can also award grants to help with expenses at any school, university, college or other educational institution attended by Ilchester residents. They can also help to provide books or tools etc. to assist people to pursue their education, or to help with travelling expenses. These grants are awarded only when the local authority is unable to help. The Trustees can provide financial assistance for the improvement of life by developing physical, mental and moral capacities through leisuretime activities.

The Trustees consider applications for help at their meetings, which are held on the fourth Tuesday of each month. Applications can be made by contacting the Clerk to the Trustees either by telephone or by letter. The Clerk will help you make a written application.

It is stressed that the charity may only assist residents of Ilchester (and Northover). If you live in Ilchester or Northover IRINEC may be able to help YOU.

Sources of information:
- A History of Ilchester - James Stevens Cox
- The 1984 IRINEC Scheme